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Car care tips for parents, teens this winter

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Category:Car & Maintenance Tips

As the winter driver season is rapidly approaching, more parents should be reminding their teenagers on the importance of practicing preventative auto maintenance.

According to  a survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, teen drivers are making safer decisions while on road this year compared to years past, including more indicating they buckle up and fewer saying they risk driving with a friend who is under the influence of alcohol.

A separate survey by AutoMD.com did show that teens are somewhat aloof when it comes to auto repair and maintenance. The survey showed that nearly 66 percent of parents rated their teenagers' knowledge of car care as "somewhat or completely clueless" or "average."

"Now is the perfect time to remind teens and their parents that driving and owning a vehicle is a big responsibility, and vehicle maintenance is a critical part of that responsibility," said Brian Hafer, vice president of marketing for AutoMD.com. "Our teen driver guide is designed to provide teens with basic information to start them on the road to a lifetime of responsible vehicle ownership."

AutoMD suggest that teens become acquainted with their vehicle's owner's manual and know the suggested maintenance schedule.  Systems that require regular maintenance include the car's fluids, tires, brakes, and oil and filter changes. Teens and parents should also install Husky Liners® custom fit floor mats for the upcoming winter, as snow and mud often get tracked into a car, risking damage to a vehicle's carpets and interior.

In addition, teens should know how to monitor their tires and how to care for them properly, especially with the winter weather conditions on the horizon. According to an August AAA study, 85 percent of drivers do not properly inflate their tires and more than 50 percent of all cars on the road have at least one tire that is under-inflated. Not only do under-inflated tires also decrease the fuel economy in the car, it makes the vehicle harder to handle and increases the likelihood of accident.

Drivers are encouraged to check their tire pressure often, especially during the winter months. If a tire seems like it needs to be filled more often than the others, a slow leak might be occurring.

Teens, or any drivers for that matter, should never ignore dashboard warning lights as they notify when a car has a problem. The car's owner's manual indicates what each light means and what do in the event that it is lit.